This concert review by Corey Hargrove, with photographs by Corey Thomas, is reposted from Live Music Blog: NOLA.
Let me begin by saying that I had no idea general admission show-goers could go upstairs at Tipitina’s Uptown without a VIP pass. For the past decade, I always thought the man at the staircase was there to keep me and the rest of the peasants from going to some lofty, very important hideaway. But no, the man at the staircase simply doesn’t want you to take glass bottles upstairs. Moral of the story: Don’t be a noob like me; feel free to venture upstairs.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the music.
Last Saturday night’s show kicked off with Los Angeles quintet Milo Greene, an energetic hodgepodge of young twentysomethings who apparently can’t figure out which instrument he or she wants to play, so they exchange them – often times mid-song. That said, they all played them with enviable ease.
The seamless transition of instruments was complimented by an equal share of vocal duties, with four members providing lead and backing vocals coupled with warm four-part harmonies. Milo immediately had the crowd dancing with its kinetic stage presence and up-tempo choruses, before sending us all into a nostalgic frenzy with an airy rendition of Sufjan Stevens‘ “Chicago.”
Notably, no one in the band is named Milo and no one musician held the role of “lead singer” or “front man” – instead, the performance was a gorgeously executed team effort that left me wondering how in the hell had I not heard of this group before.
After Milo Greene gave final bows and broke down the equipment, Tipitina’s slowly swelled to capacity with the Walkmen faithful – antsy for those home-hitting lyrics and that Brooklyn-born, vintage bliss.
If you’re familiar with the Walkmen, then you’re aware that they’re likely to be the best-dressed yahoos in the venue, and Saturday night at Tips was no exception.
They blew their set open with “The Love You Love” and “Heartbreaker” – two songs from their newest effort, Heaven, an album perhaps more comfortable in its own skin than Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone. It seems the boys have grown up and embraced the heady comforts of marriage and parenthood (the vinyl artwork for Heaven is comprised almost exclusively of family photos).
Following “Heartbreaker,” there was an appropriate absence of banter as the stage fell dark and the tempest of snare drum signified the start of “The Rat,” arguably the group’s most well received song. The stage remained dark throughout the intro, with the lights finally returning to abruptly cut through the smoky hall as Hamilton Leithauser strained the coveted line, “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favor.” (It was at this moment that my fellow indie music-aficionados and I lost it, so to speak).
The show moved on with an intimate feel as Leithauser graciously thanked away the audience’s vicious applause (one fan went as far as to yell, “I WISH YOU WERE MY DAD!”) and reminded attendees that we share our beloved New Orleans with Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon. After a 16-song set and a two-song encore, the explosive and heartfelt performance was over.
As I closed out my tab and shuffled out the door into the warm September night, I couldn’t help but to reflect and agree with Leithauser, as his lyrics to “We can’t be beat” hummed on my lips.
Live Music Blog: NOLA covers the music scene in New Orleans, and is a content partner of NolaVie.